Fed Cup 2016: Czech Republic and France advance to final

Semi-Final Fed Cup action as Czech Republic and France set up a pulsating final at Switzerland and Netherlands' expense.

Fed Cup 2016: Czech Republic and France advance to final
France fought back from 2-1 down to reach their first final since 2005 (pic source| ubitennis.net)

Both Fed Cup semi-finals went to the wire as both ties were decided by the doubles rubber as Czech Republic and France advanced against Switzerland and Netherlands respectively. With both ties level after the first day.

Czech Republic v Switzerland

Last years Fed Cup champions started Saturday with a good win for Barbora Strycova as she brushed aside in form Timea Bacsinszky 6-0 6-2 to give the Czechs a 1-0 lead. This left them in a promising position with many expecting Karolina Pliskova to beat Viktorija Golubic and it appeared to be going that way as Plsikova took the first set 6-3. However Golubic fought back to notch one of the best wins of her career winning the last two sets 6-4 to level the tie at 1-1 going into the second day.

Czech Mate

Moving onto Sunday the first singles tie was to be contested by Pliskova and Bacsinszky as both players looked to bounce back from disappointing losses. However it was to be Pliskova who would avenge her defeat as she won 6-4 6-2 to hand Bacsinszky her second loss of what was a disappointing weekend for the Swiss number two. The second match of the day saw both victors from the previous day go head to head with Strycova knowing that she could seal Czech Republic’s place in the final if she could beat Golubic.

However, Golubic was to put in another great performance as she shocked Strycova to win 3-6 7-6(6) 6-1 to send the tie to a decisive doubles rubber. Facing off was to be the Czech pairing of Pliskova and Lucie Hradecka against unlikely hero Golubic and world number one doubles player Martina Hingis. The Czechs sealed their place in the final with a dominant win, dispatching of the Swiss 6-2 6-2.

Czech Republic are the current holders of the Fed Cup
Czech Republic are current holders of the Fed Cup (pic source| ceskatelevize.cz)

France v Netherlands

The other semi-final saw France face off against underdogs Netherlands. The first match of the tie saw much fancied Caroline Garcia against Kiki Bertens. Befitting of the weekend it was again to be the underdog who was victorious as Bertens defeated Garcia 6-4 6-2 to give Netherlands an unlikely lead. The second match saw Kristina Mladenovic against Richel Hogenkamp and it was the former who was tobe the victor as she levelled the tie 1-1 winning 6-2 6-4.

Dutch Courage

It was to be Bertens who would yet again be the hero on day 2 as she defeated Mladenovic to edge Netherlands ahead once again winning 7-5 6-4. There was a change in line-up for the second singles match for Netherlands as Arantxa Rus replaced Hogenkamp to face Garcia. However in an improved performance to the previous day, Garcia defeated Rus 6-3 6-4 to send the decision to the doubles. Hogenkamp would return for the doubles as she paired up with Bertens against Garcia and Mladenovic. In what was a pulsating tie, Netherlands won the first set 6-4 before France fought back to take the second set before winning the final set by the same scoreline to progress to the final for the first time since 2005.

The final is set to take place in France on the weekend of 12/13th November 2016.